I encourage you to read those two words - to re-read them. What happens in your mind? What happens in your body? What emotions do you feel? What memories come up for you?
Ideally, reading or hearing the words "you belong," would feel good. It would lead to sense of peace and relaxation in the body that comes from remembering that we are safe because we are not alone. However, those words often don't land that way.
In working with survivors of interpersonal trauma (trauma that has been perpetrated by someone depended on for survival or for emotional needs), the issue of belonging is huge. Because belonging brings up thoughts and feelings about other people, the first reaction is often not peace and contentment, but fear, loneliness, or shame.
My goal in creating this blog is to be steadfast in reminding you of your belonging. I will do so with the assistance of poets, trees, animals, maybe even some psychology research, and other yet-to-be-discovered sources of information.
I will also suggest a belonging practice along with each post.
Here is the poem that first caught my attention about my own belonging. I was heartbroken about a loss at the time, and going for a long walk in the pouring rain along the Charles River in Boston. It was national poetry month and there were little placards placed along the esplanade, each displaying a different poem. As I read Wild Geese, two wet geese walked by.
This week's belonging reminder:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
- Mary Oliver
This week's practice suggestions:
1. Journal about what happens when you read the words "You belong." What happens in your mind? What happens in your body? What emotions do you feel? What memories come up for you?
2. Pay attention to the "wild geese" in your life this week. That is, keep your senses open for an unexpected belonging reminder.